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Old 10-01-2010, 04:08 PM   #1
Will Moore
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Default Help with Paleo Diet

Hello all....It's been a while since I've visitied this great forum and I need some advice from anyone willing to toss some ideas/thoughts my way. First, a little history about myself. I'm retired Military (US Marines and Army National Guard) and I'm now a software developer. I'm almost 47 now and I've pretty much beat myself up with everything from bike racing, running, boxing, and bodybuilding over the years since I was 17. Back in the 80's was my first experience with weight lifting....an as you know, ultra low-fat diets were all the rage. Who was I to argue, so I fell in with that crowd and never looked back. I had not a hamburger or slice of pizza for more than 20 years. For most of that time I seldom ate meat...most of my protein came from various (nearly fat free) protein powders. I figured protein was protein so who needs meat? My dietary fat intake remained at theanemic sub-10 percent level for years. I never had a problem with this. Not only was I strong as hell, I could kick the skinny guys' asses on a 10k run. I know my carb intake was very high and my protein intake was moderate at best. Back then, my carbs were things like sourdough bread (could scarf down a loaf in one meal), fat-free cookies and....well, you get the picture. This worked fine for me in my younger years.
When I retired from the military, I did hard, all day long blue-collar work for about 5 years. I worked hard all day and then worked out at night. I was ripped and strong, so my high carb diet was serving me well. People were amazed that I didn't eat meat and practically no fat of any kind. Everything changed when the internet came along and I got exposure to new ideas about diet and nutrition. I started reading about how horrible my current diet was (i.e. white flour is poison, high carbs lead to diabetes, etc.). This really got me thinking....Also, when I reinvented myself and became a programmer/software guy I suddenly found myself chained to a desk for most of the day. I couldn't continue to eat like I was before without gaining weight, no matter how much I worked out.
Fast forward to today. Years ago, I switched the kinds of carbs I was eating. Currently, I eat lots of whole barley (boiled as you would rice, this is the lowest glycemic index grain), winter squash of all kinds, salad vegetables of all kinds. All of my protein is very low fat, and I use no added oils or fats. I weigh about 160 now and my body fat is very low....I mean I can see every vein in my torso and can't pinch anything anywhere. So, what's the problem then? I feel like crap, that's the problem. I can only eat this way for so long before I start losing too much weight and losing strength, despite a high carb intake. Now, I can easily eat bread and rice and get much stronger...but soon afterward I will get puffy and not feel so good.
I have tried low carb dieting at least three times and failed.....usually when I'm in the same condition as I am now, very lean, not fat. I have never went low-carb to lose weight. I always did so because I wanted to believe it was healthier. The same thing happened every time: I felt great at first, mostly from the increase in calories I presume....but no matter how long I try to "adapt to burning fat", it never works for me. My workouts and endurance start to suffer. I then up the calories with more protein and fat. This puts weight on me, however I get no gain in strength or endurance. In the end, I give up and go back to my old ways.
I can't figure out what I am doing wrong....is it possible that some people are genetically programmed to thrive on carbs? I wouldn't think so....my ancestry is from ScotLand/Northen Ireland. Or maybe all those years of no-fat, high carb eating have permanently deranged my metabolism? The way I eat "semi-works" for me but I hate it. I really love things like salmon, coconut, etc. and I want a real food diet like that to work for me. I was thinking of going Paleo....and unlike my past low-carb efforts, maybe incorporating some "friendly carbs" like sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.
I used to read the posts on this forum quite a bit in the past and you all seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to Paleo/Low-carb.....I would greatly appreciate any knowledge and experience you can share with me.
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:52 PM   #2
Derek Weaver
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I have no idea what you're really asking, but I'll guess. I skimmed all of that so I may be on... or not.

Good rule of thumb. Eat real food. Don't worry about friendly vs. unfriendly carbs etc.

Eat when hungry, until full, keep it balanced. Zone principle applies in that it wouldn't hurt to divide each plate between a lean protein, fruit and vegetable, whatever starch you're into.

White potatoes, sweet potatoes, some other starchy tuber. They're all just about okay.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:57 AM   #3
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Moore View Post
Currently, I eat lots of whole barley (boiled as you would rice, this is the lowest glycemic index grain), winter squash of all kinds, salad vegetables of all kinds.

....and unlike my past low-carb efforts, maybe incorporating some "friendly carbs" like sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.
Those are all great sources of CHO and you can eat them all ad libitum but, and this is something I never thought I'd have to say on this forum, I think you need to increase your fat intake.

The reason for this is paleo sources of CHO such as roots, tubers, whole grains and fruit generally have a lower calorie density than refined non-paleo carbs. This isn't a problem if you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle but if you workout it makes it much harder to eat enough to maintain energy balance unless you're prepared to eat an heroically large volume of food or increase your fat intake.

Eating fattier cuts of meat would be one way of increasing your fat intake but that would also increase your saturated fat intake which, contrary to popular belief, is not a smart thing to do. Instead you'd be better off adding a little, and I do mean a little, extra virgin olive oil* to your diet. I'd also recommend eating more nuts** as they're a good source of fat, protein and many other nutrients and have many well documented health benefits.

* Note: Olive oil isn't strictly paleo as it's a neolithic food but it's better to increase your MUFA intake rather than increase your saturated fat intake or increase your PUFA intake above your requirement for EFA's.

** If you're interested I posted some abstracts and links to studies on the health benefits of nuts here.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:08 AM   #4
Will Moore
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Default Concur....

Darryl, thanks for your input. Actually, I'm going to be doing just as you suggested. I don't buy fatty red meat....I'm a big fish guy and I will be eating a lot of salmon, which is rather fatty depending on which kind you buy. I have a friend who recently returned from a fishing trip to Alaska. They caught over 1,000 lbs. of Salmon and Halibut and brought it home! I have pink salmon, king salmon, and halibut....really good stuff, not the cheap "farmed in Chile" kind you find at the grocery store.
I'm with you on the saturated fat thing. I have read many of your posts all over these boards and I admire your style. You post a lot of information from published scientific studies that are relevent to each thread topic. I know there have been studies that show that saturated fat may not be so bad after all....yet somehow, people go overboard and start suggesting that saturated fat is all you should consume and all other fats are poison or a waste of time! For example, some say don't eat nuts because they contain deadly n-6 PUFA and will throw off the all important n-6/n-3 ratio. However, what they fail to realize is that the oil, as it naturally occurs in the nuts, is not the same as the canola, corn, and peanut oil you buy off the shelf at the grocery store! True, those oils are very bad for your health; they are extracted with harsh solvents, deodorized, bleached, and bottled...and already rancid before you even open the bottle. Even so-called healthy oils like walnut oil, almond oil, etc. that are processed and bottled in a healthy way are bad news because they are so delicate and go rancind so quickly when exposed to air and light. However, when you eat the nuts themselves, right out of the shell, they are very healthy. The nut shell and the meat of the nut itself protects it from rancidity. All of these studies showing ill effects from skewing the n-6/n-3 ratio are done using extacted and denatured oils, NOT by feeding nuts and seeds as they naturally occur! And most of the so-called deadly PUFA in the modern Western diet come from these nasty oils and hydrogenated vegetable fats. I used to work at a bakery and made cake frosting daily. It consisted of a 50 lb. bag of powdered sugar, flavoring, and a 50lb. block of hydrogenated soybean shortening...on the box it said "All natural, no cholesterol"....what a joke! It was a big gob of poison!
What do you think about Coconut. I know it is the most saturated of all fats yet this is its natural state....it wasn't genetically altered or manufactured to be that way. This tells me that it must be a healthy thing....unlike industrial meat with marbled fat that is the result of human intervention. You see all the studies showing people from island nations who are free of heart disease that consume coconut on a daily basis. Yet, I still worry about eating them. Could it be that these people do well on Coconut because they and their ancestors have been eating these things for thousands of years. However, people like me, of Northern European ancestry would have never seen or been exposed to a Coconut. Does this mean I may not respond well to them and they would be potentially detrimental to my health?
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:19 AM   #5
Jarod Barker
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How long did you try to follow the low carb/high protein/high fat diets for? I was from the same high carb school. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, bread at lunch, pasta at dinner, and just ate all the potatoes, sandwiches, spaghetti I could. I come from an Italian family, there's always bread and pasta in huge quantities. My protein was usually one egg with breakfast, whatever lunch meat I picked, and maybe a little ground beef or chicken at dinner. And I ate like this from my childhood all the way till I was 23. Then I found Robb Wolf.

I started playing with things, not paleo, but just eating more meat. Then I started eating more fats. I wasn't low carb by any measure, I still had oatmeal for breakfast everyday, and my post workout shake was milk with berries and a scoop of protein (not a terrible choice, but not what I do now). I had been doing Gym Jones, and then switched to Crossfit, at which point, I started zoning still eating grains. My performance flatlined, I stopped progressing, and I contacted Robb directly, and then everything changed.

I went wholesale paleo. I felt awful! My workouts sucked, my runs sucked, my swims were slow and hard. I stuck with it though because I thought, if this works for everyone else, I'm going to make it work for me. After about a month, suddenly, it was like someone flipped a switch. I had more energy, I was sleeping better, I was less sore after workouts, I leaned out, suddenly I had abs, my acne cleared up, and I stopped getting "the runs" after long runs. Now, I feel and perform better eating paleo than I ever did eating high carb.

Could your body have adapted to your high carb diet? Definitely. And that's probably why you do so well on it. Look at Michael Phelps. The guy eats carbs like Lindsay Lohan snorts crack. But, adaptation is a powerful thing, so I think if you can stick with it even when you feel crappy from not eating carbs, your body will adapt. I like the saying Food is a Drug. So, coming off a high carb diet, you may feel some "withdrawal." I would try going on full on paleo, if you want an easy guide marksdailyapple.com is having a "Primal Challenge" month, and he has a ton of articles up right now to help people get on track. Increasing your fat intake as Derek suggested will definitely send you in the right direction. But I think you'll find as you replace grains with vegetables, you're going to stop having that insulin fluctuation and start feeling better throughout the day.
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
Will Moore
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Hey Chad, thanks for the imput. To answer your question "How long was I high-carb"....well over 25 years I would say. And as I stated, I ate very little fat of any kind and pratically not meat (instead I went with lots of whey, milk, and egg protein powders). I had no trouble getting really strong and ripped eating this way back in the day. Now that I'm older, its just way too much carbs when I sit at a desk all day before I work out. Each time I attempted low carb I bombed....like you said, sucky workouts, slow-thinking and all that. I too tried to "stick it out"....Eventually, I felt a little better but workouts still sucked.

You said you got help from Rob Wolf. I recently bought his book and read it cover to cover twice. When you went "full-paleo", did you incorporate significant carbs from non-grain sources, or did to take the low/no carb route? I have all the foods I need to go either way. I've never tried a Paleo type diet that wasn't low-carb because I was always paranoid about consuming the fat percentages they suggest when I'm eating carbs. For me it was one way or the other....lots of carbs and absolutely no fat or lots of fat and absolutely minimal carbs. Anyway, I anxiously await your reply since you come from a similar high-carb background. I'm not Italian but I have friends who are...taking away their pasta, bread, and canolli is like asking them to stop breathing
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:45 PM   #7
Jarod Barker
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Hey Will, how long did you try to stick it out with the low carb diets? Perhaps you got to the "withdrawal" state but never fully adapted?

When I went full on paleo, my only high carb source was sweet potatoes or yams post workout. Otherwise it was fruits and vegetables and relatively low carb. Not ketogenic low, but probably less than 50g carbs a day, not counting the post workout tubers. I found that macademia nuts made the transition much easier.

As I'm sure you read in Robb's book, we don't actually need carbs at all. Your body can create it's own glucose, though it is not necessarily an efficient process. I think if you can slowly decrease your carb intake, the transition may go smoother. In fact, if you're really motivated, you could try the zone diet with paleo foods. You'll find it's easier with alot of fruit which is not necessarily optimal because of the fructose, but at least it would get you away from the grains, and help your body with the transition.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:57 AM   #8
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Moore View Post
What do you think about Coconut. I know it is the most saturated of all fats yet this is its natural state....it wasn't genetically altered or manufactured to be that way. This tells me that it must be a healthy thing....unlike industrial meat with marbled fat that is the result of human intervention. You see all the studies showing people from island nations who are free of heart disease that consume coconut on a daily basis. Yet, I still worry about eating them. Could it be that these people do well on Coconut because they and their ancestors have been eating these things for thousands of years. However, people like me, of Northern European ancestry would have never seen or been exposed to a Coconut. Does this mean I may not respond well to them and they would be potentially detrimental to my health?
As you say cocount oil has been part of the diet of some South-East Asian countries eg. Sri Lanka (link) for many years with little evidence that it increases the risk of CVD but this may be because they tend eat largely plant based diets and favour seafood over red meat. In clinical trials coconut oil has been shown to increase levels of both total and LDL cholesterol as you'd expect with any saturated fat but to a lesser degree than butter (link) so it may be preferable to use it in place of butter for frying at high temperatures.

As there is no dietary requirement for saturated fat though I would tend to err on the side of caution and aim to get most of my fat from nuts, seeds, fish and olive oil rather than increase my saturated fat intake because as it says in The Macronutrient Report saturated fats "have not been associated with any beneficial role in preventing chronic disease" (p. 441) and "there is a positive linear trend between total saturated fatty acid intake and total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration and increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)" (p. 422).
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:39 AM   #9
Chris Butler
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Default Coconut oil

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article10612.htm
http://marty.dragondoor.com/2010/02/...m_nooverride=1
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
Samuel Hughes
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My approach has been similar to what Darryl is suggesting- better safe than sorry. It seems to be a general conclusion in the literature that excessive sat'd fats in the context of global/systemic inflammation is probably not a good thing. A large carbohydrate intake leads to global/systemic inflammation. Thus, if you are eating carbs for any period of time (usually for gains), I would avoid saturated fats, including MCTs. If you are looking to maintain/optimize health, I'd go pretty low carb, and limit MCT's to your post workout recovery window. While they may not be as harmful on a low carb diet, I still think its better safe than sorry. However, they are metabolized much more quickly/easily than long chain fats, so consumption immediately after working out is potentially a good choice.
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